“It has been said that in human life there are moments worth ages”

Today is cloudy and humid. The air is still. Scattered thunder storms are predicted. I have an errand which I may skip as the roads will probably be filled with vacationers looking for diversions, reasons to leave their small hotel rooms and cottages. I, however, don’t need a diversion. I have books to read. I also have weird chores I can do, the sort tackled in times of boredom, chores like hunting down expired can goods. That’s always exciting, think tongue in cheek here, a whimsical exaggeration.

When I was a kid, the floor of my closet was piled high with shoes, boots and whatever else needed a home. I’d have to pull out what was there to find what I needed. After I did, I’d just put the pile back. It never occurred to me to sort the pile. Seriously, why would I? It didn’t pain my sensibilities. My bureau drawers were neatish, not the bovine neat but neat meaning close to organized and tidy. My mother did that as she put the laundry away.

In my bedroom in Ghana, I had a chifforobe, an armoire, as I had no closet. It was against one wall. One side of it was for hanging my clothes while the other side had shelves. It was my only storage. It was always neat. In my shower room outside, I used the windowsill as a shelf for my soap, shampoo and a sort of loofah. The window had a permanent shutter so you couldn’t see out, but even better, no one could see in. The shutter was green. The shower room was concrete.

In Accra, I always stayed at the Peace Corp hostel. It was only 50 pesewas a night with breakfast. The women slept downstairs. Breakfast was coffee, cereal, eggs and toast. I remember the plates were colored plastic and many had scratches and were faded. I can still picture the bedroom and the common room where we ate breakfast and socialized. It is odd what our memory drawers hold.

When I traveled, it was on the cheap. Every Peace Corps volunteer travels on the cheap. Some countries had hostels. I remember the one in Niamey. It was comfortable and decorated with Nigerian blankets and baskets. Niger just had a coup. I watched the news and films of the uprising in Niamey. I remember a quiet Niamey with camels on the roads, women washing clothes at the river and French shops with silver services in the window. It is no longer the Niamey my memory drawers keep safe.

When I went back to Ghana, everything physical had changed. Accra was huge. I saw only a few places exactly as I remembered them, but that is what happens in time. Bolga had spread, gotten bigger, but it didn’t matter. I felt the warmth of the Ghanaians in Bolga and heard all their greetings. I felt at home, the same sorts of feelings I had felt so many years ago. Sometimes time does stand still.

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2 Comments on ““It has been said that in human life there are moments worth ages””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Yet another clear day with a high temperature of 106°. Last night there were a few scattered thunderstorms around the area but we got zilch, nada, nothing, not even a sprinkle. I did hear a very slight rumble of thunder in the distance about eleven o’clock at night.

    I don’t understand how the bottoms of closets collect so much stuff. We normally ignore closets until we move and then we discover things we thought had long ago disappeared. I think that closets are a relatively new invention. Most very old homes from the 19th and early 20th century didn’t have them. Most people kept their cloths in dressers and armoires. The good thing about an armoire is that you can leave everything inside, wrap the door closed with clear tape, and all your crap which has been collecting in the bottom will come with you. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We had about four minutes of sprinkles. It did no good at all. We are still expecting thunder storms and a cooler temperature, low 70s.

      I figure the closet floor is just available, just there waiting. The only time wwe have to bother with it is when it gets too high. The traditional houses in Ghana are made of clay and mud. Many of the other houses are made of concrete so there are no closets.

      It is only in recent time that wood has been used in many of the most affluent houses, and these houses could be anywhere.

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